Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick
Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Carter Shaw is an heir to a real estate empire in West Virginia with his girlfriend, Amanda, whose family has benefited from the relationship playing the role as a power couple. Yet on the side, Carter is dating Rosalie. While Carter is falling in love with Rosalie, Rosalie is using Carter as a cover since Rosalie’s sexuality must be kept secret. Mysterious texts first surface to Amanda and then to Rosalie who must eventually work together to resolve the love triangle.
Amanda and Carter are imperfect characters with an agenda and entitlement raised by parents who are equally power hungry. So Frick ramps up the intensity with skillful plotting beginning with readers’ introduction to the couple at a party. Their privileged life is juxtaposed with Rosalie’s horrifying situation having been abused by a Christian sect meant to scare her straight. And when the volatile situation reaches its climax in the high school gym, readers are on edge as to how it will all end ultimately revealing who wanted to break up Carter and Amanda. Will the villain(s) get their comeuppance?
Fans of CW shows showcasing the beautiful life and major drama will find their book in Frick’s All Eyes On Us. Likewise, readers of intense dramas like Pretty Little Liars or Tiny Pretty Things.
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
After discovering her sort-of girlfriend kissing someone else, Millie Quint decides to forego her senior year at her Texas high school to attend a fancy boarding school. There, she’s forced to room with an actual Scottish princess. Falling in love with her would be a terrible idea, though. Right?
Hawkins deploys well-loved Romance tropes and genre conventions and deftly queers them, creating a satisfying story that will certainly appeal to those who want their happily-ever-afters to include literal royalty. Her Royal Highness is an enjoyable love story from start to finish.
Fans of Isabel Bandeira Ever After series, Jennifer Dugan’s Hot Dog Girl, and American Royals by Katherine McGee—not to mention Hawkins’ first Royals book—will find their own HEA here.
— Ness Shortley